Wedding showers and engagement parties are a significant memory for every couple. One event celebrates the couple’s decision to tie the knot while the other is a gesture of love for the bride and is purposed to provide the couple with essentials to start their life.
Both events are important, so it is crucial to understand the value and etiquette of each event and act accordingly.
This article will help you understand the difference between these two events!
The first pre-wedding party is usually the engagement party. An engagement party happens when the couple decides to make their relationship into a lifelong commitment of staying by each other’s side through thick and thin.
To share this auspicious news with their loved ones, an engagement party is the most perfect way to celebrate. It is the perfect way to let your loved ones congratulate you and a perfect time to let your in-laws meet each other.
A wedding shower is an event that happens prior to the wedding of a couple which focuses on showering the couple with lots of love and well wishes from close friends, family, and relatives.
Wedding showers are celebrated by the couple to help them start a new home together in the presence of all the shower guests.
It usually happens at the host’s home, but one can also choose an alternate location like a venue hall where all guests can gather easily. It typically happens about a month or two before the wedding day.
Shower guests bring many gifts with them which they think that the couple may find useful in their new life.
Usually, the guests that are invited to the wedding shower are the ones that are also going to be present at the wedding.
A wedding shower is an event that is thrown in honor of the bride and male members do not usually attend this event.
A wedding shower is thrown by a close friend or relative of the bride who invites everyone. This has been the tradition for a long time, but this tradition is now changing where the groom and some close male members of the groom can also attend the event in the later part of it.
An engagement party is attended by all the loved ones of the couple and members of both partners can attend this function.
What is Supposed to Happen at Each Event?
A wedding shower usually contains a dinner if it happens in the evening and an English tea breakfast if it happens in the morning.
It also contains speeches of the shower guests in which they express their joy and love for the future couple and present them with different thoughtful gifts.
At an engagement party, the couple usually shares the story about how it all happened.
It is also customary to raise glasses and congratulate the couple by doing speeches. Friends and family share some kind words about the couple.
Your office fellows and Boss can also be invited to this party. Guests also bring gifts with them but it’s not customary or required.
Who is Supposed to Host and Pay for Each Event?
A wedding shower is most typically hosted by the maid of honor, but we have also seen it hosted by close friends and family or someone at the wedding party.
It used to be the restriction in previous times that the bride’s family couldn’t throw a shower and it was only supposed to be arranged by a relative or a close friend, but things have changed now.
It can be hosted by anyone except the bride and groom. The person hosting the party pays for all the expenditures of the event.
The engagement party mostly happens on the engagement day or the coming day. But usually, there isn’t much delay between the events. Traditionally, an engagement party was hosted by the parents of the bride but it’s not compulsory now.
The person who proposed usually hosts the party so that it can come as a surprise to the other person. Again, it’s not required. It can be hosted by anyone e.g., close friends and family members of the couple can host it.
Who Should be on the Guest List on Each Event?
A wedding shower can have a gathering of about twenty to more than one hundred people depending on the person. The guest list mostly consists of family members, the bride’s maids, close friends, and relatives. The sister of the groom and bride must be present along with their grandmothers.
One thing to keep in mind is that the guests invited to the wedding shower must get an invitation to the wedding.
In the past male members did not get invitations to the showers as it was seen as a girls-only event but nowadays, some brides prefer to have the groom and his friends to be present at the festivities.
The number of guests usually goes anywhere from 10 to 60 people. The parents of both bride and groom must be present at the engagement party.
Close friends and family members from both sides should be invited. The person hosting the engagement party must send an official invitation to all the guests. It can be done via cards or one can also invite guests digitally.
One thing to keep in mind is that the people present at the engagement party must be invited to the wedding too.
Which Event Is More Important?
Both events are particularly important in their own context. An engagement party is thrown when the couple decides to make their news official.
It’s the first pre-wedding party and has immense importance in the eyes of the soon-to-be wedded but a wedding shower is more important as it happens much closer to the wedding day and usually has more guests.
While the engagement party has significantly more emotional value, a wedding shower is more of a need than a party. It is a way to get the bride some useful gifts for her upcoming life and ease out some things for the new couple.
At What Time Should These Events Start?
The person hosting the wedding shower should ask the bride and groom about the day on which they want the event to happen. The event can happen in the morning or evening as it suits the couple.
Wedding Showers usually happen 2 to 8 weeks before the wedding so the invitations must be sent 3 or 4 weeks before the actual date of the event while for the engagement party, there is no date as it is dependent on the decision of the couple.
Engagement parties usually happen on the day of the engagement but it’s not necessary. There isn’t usually a long delay between the engagement party and the day at which you popped the big question but it’s better to enjoy being engaged for a little before you start your wedding preparations.
What Are the Common Locations for Each Event?
Wedding Showers can be organized at any place. There are a lot of options. It can take place at the home of a family member, friend and even the host can organize it in his or her own backyard.
There aren’t really a lot of restrictions in this regard. But if you can’t find a place that suits you well, you can choose a restaurant for a venue.
You can have your engagement party wherever you like. There aren’t really any rules regarding the place of the event. It can happen at your parents’ home or the backyard of your aunt. It really depends on the host.
If most of the family members of the couple live in another town or city, you should arrange it in that town for their convenience.
Also, you can go to a restaurant or a club depending on how many people you want to invite. It’s also customary to send official invitations to the guests prior to the date of the event.
Types of Gifts for Each Event?
Gifts are an effective way to express love and gratitude to the couple. A wedding shower guest must check with the host to see if there is a gift registry in which the bride has mentioned the type of gifts that she would like to receive at her wedding shower.
Unless you are remarkably close to the bride and know her well and already thought of a useful and meaningful gift, do check for a registry first. Bringing something not so useful is also against the shower etiquettes.
The most common types of gifts are usually home appliances and things that will help the couple once they move to their new home.
Although sometimes there are ‘no gifts’ wedding showers too, it is still recommended to get something useful for the couple. If you can’t think of anything, go outside the box and be different. Get them a plane ticket or a hotel reservation for their honeymoon so that the couple can save some money there.
You can also present gift cards from some reputable hotels or resorts and book a dinner for the couple as a gesture of love. Mostly, gifts are opened after desserts are served.
At an engagement party, there aren’t any regulations regarding the gifts you are going to bring to the party. But it would be better to check for a gift registry. If there isn’t any gift registry you can give anything that the couple may find thoughtful.
It can be an art piece, a photo collage frame, a book set, or a personalized wedding ornament for the couple.
It totally depends on the budget of guests but as a couple, it is recommended to not add overly expensive gifts for your engagement as you are supposed to receive gifts in the upcoming wedding shower and at your wedding.
So, try to go for something lovely and mid-ranged. It’s etiquette to not put financial pressure on guests at your engagement party.
This is supposed to be an event of celebration and not a shower. The main purpose of giving gifts is to express their love and to give the couple their good wishes.
Although there aren’t many restrictions to what a wedding shower can look like, that also doesn’t mean that there aren’t some basic etiquettes for a wedding shower.
Although most of the stuff is explained throughout the article, I would still like to list some trivial things that matter.
If you are planning to not receive gifts, you must mention it on the card so that those who don’t bring a gift aren’t embarrassed. If you do plan on receiving gifts at your wedding shower, then it is recommended to create a gifts registry.
A wedding shower is supposed to get you the essential stuff you need to step into your married life.
Also mention on the card if the event is themed as formal or casual. Showers are usually themed casually, but it totally depends on you.
Just notify everyone so that they don’t get confused and flood you with calls and texts asking what to wear.
The engagement party has some etiquette that you must keep in mind. As mentioned earlier, engagement party guests aren’t accustomed to bringing gifts. It is dependent on them and there is no requirement for bringing gifts. Do keep a registry if you believe that some people are going to bring gifts.
Also, don’t invite anyone to an engagement that you won’t invite to a wedding. All the guests are going to be invited later to the wedding so keep it in mind while planning the guest list.
Keep the environment casual as the main purpose is to chat and get to know each other’s families well. You don’t have to dance wildly or have a raging party. Keep it minimal and casual.
Make sure that your and your spouse’s parents have met each other before so that it won’t be an awkward encounter on the engagement. Schedule their meeting before the engagement in this case.
Lastly, don’t be shy and have fun!